Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wasatch Old and New

Earlier in the week I was depressed due to lack of outside time as work, school, temple sessions, and dinner parties with friends were requiring more sit down time than I prefer. Luckily thursday-saturday provided some quality time in the great outdoors.

Wednesday I got to run all over Sugarhouse Park with my dad while we chased Caroline in her State Cross country meet. She did pretty well, taking 8th overall, despite pulling a Spence and getting passed in the final stretch. Congrats to her on a terrific 4 year high school career, and the beginning(i hope) of a lifetime of long distance running(if I can convince her 3 miles is just a warmup).
Nice Knee highs! Her first mile time was as fast as I can run a mile on my best day

Thursday Court and I got out up little cottonwood to put some business to rest up the Green A gully.

Wheels on Fire 10a, Stormy Resurrection 11b, Looney Tunes 11b
Finally Redpointing Mother of Pearl 11c

Court managed to onsight/flash/whatever Looney Tunes with me yelling beta at him while he climbed. I found this impressive and it just confirmed the fact that this kid can climb hard when he tries.(which is less often than I'd like to see). I pulled through the tough lieback moves of Mother of Pearl and didn't whip on my poor .4 camalot for the 5th time and finally sent what I think is one of the tougher .11's in the canyon. 4 star route mega route.

Great finger crack of Stormy

Upper dihedral of Mother of Pearl is sun/shade line

Friday I did a really fun loop inspired by Court.
West slabs and summiting Olympus
Linking the North and South summits via lots of 5th class scrambling and looping back via the new bonneville shoreline trail

Starting from the standard west slab approach, send the slabs and take the ridge to the North Summit. Pull on your routefinding goggles and make your way to the South Summit without cliffing out(I was not successful in this). From the S. Summit, down the standard Oly trail, then 10 min past the stream, take the brand spanking new BST back to your car! This loop has no doubt been done in the past but always required road running on Wasatch. NO LONGER! 100% trail. The time is wrong on Strava, it took me 2:45 total.

Slabs are always a treat. Got an extra 50 feet due to lack of snow. 

North Summit looking west
South Summit headwall

It was dark, but I was still able to find the new BST! 

Saturday Annie and I hiked up Bells do to the super classic Arm and Hammer, 10a A0.
Arm and Hammer
Rappelling 5th class dirt

Arm and Hammer is 2nd only to Vertical Overhangs as the best multipitch I've done in the Wasatch. The climbing is fun, wild, safe, and makes you either slab climb .11 or hone your pendulum aid technique. We had some camera malfunctions and only started to get pics on pitch 4. Bummer.

 Pitch 1 is a 5.7 squeeze chimney which are always somewhat insecure. I missed clipping the crux bolt as I was so tightly jammed in the chimney I couldn't reach it behind me as I thrutched up the crack.(Annie easily liebacked it with toprope courage)
Pitch 2 requires some running swinging to snag some tat on a bolt and then pull some .10 moves into a corner. This is likely the closest I'll get to the King Swing.
Pitch 3 is the mega classic Zion Curtain, 100 feet of a thin hands paper flake on a 80 degree wall after another running swing to reach the flake.
Pitch 4 is a superb finger to hand crack with a final roof traverse.
Pitch 5 is the chossiest slab pitch you'll ever climb, but who cares, the other 4 were great!

The descent off Middle Bell is about as fun as other Wasatch gully freak shows, always a treat, lots of 5th class choss downclimbing and we actually rappelled down some 5.6SD(steep dirt) off some ratty tat on a shrub. Highly recommend it.

Middle Bell Tower
Pitch 4 handcrack

Pitch 4 roof

Annie pulling over roof on Pitch 4

Descent. Nice steep dirt

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Postholing in October

Annie and I set out to run a bit up AF while we were waiting for it to get warm so we could climb. We set out from the Summit trailhead to check out the Lame Horse(055) trail that heads down to Aspen Grove where the standard Timp trail starts. We were having so much fun in the beautiful colors and brisk air and feeling the need to exercise since we'd both been sitting a lot the past few days, we started up the AG trail thinking "we'd go till we felt like turning back".

We ended up at Emerald Lake and decided to complete a loop as loops are always cooler than out and backs. We headed towards the Timpanokee trail, and soon encountered a transition from minimal snow to full on postholing.  I was in shorts and a T-shirt and got super cold. We didn't have any plans to summit, so we didn't, and thankfully there is a 2nd trail that heads down earlier than the TK summit trail which requires running up to the saddle. We skied our way down the TK trail to the parking lot, where we were both quite tired, dehydrated, and hungry having not brought any food and one water bottle each since we had originally planned on running for an hour or two. We took trail 150 and 159 back up to the summit trailhead, completing the awesome loop in 4.5 hours, roughly 16 miles and 4k gain.

Map of our loop. Intersection of Timp/TK cut off at bottom
Our cutoff is the first right after Emerald Lake

Adding the summit and no snow to this loop would make it 5/5 stars as there is 0% road running, spectacular colors, runnable terrain, and gets you tired. I need to bring the camera on all our "short runs" in case they turn into more memorable runs. We didn't get any climbing in but it was definitely one of the best loops in the Wasatch I've done this year. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moving and the Millcreek Crest "Trail"

I think Will Gadd's ideas in the following video are what everyone should make as their slogan for life. I'm making it mine.

"People don't stop running because they get old, they get old because they stop running."-unknown

In that vein, Annie and I set out to explore the "unmaintained" trail of the Millcreek Crest, not to be confused with the uber classic Wasatch Crest, or just Crest, that is so popular among runners and bikers. My goal is link as many loops up these canyons as possible, so this was a trail I hadn't done yet. The Millcreek Crest trail links the summits of Mt Aire to Grandeur Peak, and according to the map below, there is a trail of sorts along the ridge. When a trail is "unmaintained" that means there isn't a trail at all. We thought we'd go check it out anyway, looping back to our car via the Pipeline. Easy peasy. Not.

Millcreek Crest is #22 above white word box

From the saddle below Mt Aire, the trail is an obvious turnoff southwest that climbs up to the ridge. The trail meanders on either side of the ridge, often times decent, sometimes poor, sometimes really faint, and sometimes nonexistent. I guess that's part of the fun. What isn't part of the fun is schwaking in thick brush when you lose the trail, which occured more than 50% of the time. It took us around 3 hours to reach the Grandeur Peak saddle, with the last hour in the dark sans headlamps. That was kinda miserable.

Annie came up with a good definition of hell. Its ridgwacking(shwaking on a ridge) in the cold and darkness without lamps, on loose terrain, with sharp bushes gouging you and bad ankles that roll easily. Annie entered hell on the way down Grandeur as visibility was zero and rolled her ankle badly, creating a long partner assist to get her down to the Millcreek road. I ran down to my parents house from Church Fork to get a shuttle for her as our car was still 5 miles upcanyon at Elbow Fork. We arrived safely back home at 1030, a long journey that I thought would take max 2.5 hours. Once again, my poor estimation skills at work.

Don't bother with this ridge, its not worth your time.